Lawrence T. Brennan
Retired partner, Kwasha Lipton, Fort Lee, N.J.
When Larry Brennan helped develop and implement the first cash balance plan at Bank of America, he was looking for a practical way to make defined benefit plans more palatable to employees.
It wasn't that defined benefit plans weren't a valuable employee benefit, it was just that workers didn't pay enough attention to, or appreciate, them. Traditional pension plans weren't as visible as the new kid on the block — the 401(k) plan.
Mr. Brennan, an actuary and partner with Kwasha Lipton, a consulting firm that is now part of Mellon HR & Investment Solutions, saw the cash balance plan as a way to make the defined benefit plan look more like a 401(k). Bank of America, in July 1985, became the first major corporation to adopt a cash balance plan.
Cash balance plans gradually started to catch on among corporate plan sponsors, growing to more than 600 through 2002.
"A key goal in formulating cash balance plans in the 1980s was to find a way to make the defined benefit plan as attractive to the work force as a savings plan," Mr. Brennan said in a speech shortly after his retirement (Pensions & Investments, Jan. 6, 1992). "Employees would have the best of both worlds: a riskless individual account accumulation plan with the benefit security of a defined benefit plan."
Mr. Brennan retired in 1991, long before the hybrid plan would become a flash point for employee discontent and the focal point for legal action by older workers who viewed them as discriminatory. Yet it was the latter issue that most concerned Mr. Brennan, according to Theresa Stuchiner, another retired Kwasha partner.
"One of the big issues with cash balance plans is the transition and what to do to accommodate (older workers) … He was always concerned with that and was innovative in finding solutions when working with companies," Ms. Stuchiner said.
"Larry was a delight to be with, very pleasant," she said. "He got along well with everyone. I can't say enough nice things about him as a person and as a consultant."